Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/27/2018

Mundane Morality

I drove upstate with my wife and kids to visit my father this weekend. Turns out he was having a surgery on Friday morning which he neglected to tell me he needed a ride to but I was, fortunately, able to be there to take him and to stay with him and ensure he was taken care of as the anesthesia wore off and the pain and nausea kicked in. I am thankful that I was able to be there because, if my aunt hadn’t answered his phone, we would have canceled the trip.

All of this is to say that I am always happy to help my parents in any way I can but any good kamma that results is still just worldly. Yes, I get joy simply from the act but I have been contemplating more deeply just how bottomless is this samsara and how each of us has done all of these good things and better in the course of infinite lives. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not proposing for a minute that we give up on making merit. Rather that, to truly take advantage of this precious opportunity, we need to make headway towards the Deathless.

What this looks like to me is more of an inclination towards developing insight and wisdom. Funny but it doesn’t actually seem to mean that I let up on samatha or brahmavihara practice. Rather, I feel like I need to bring more investigation and curiosity to my experience. And I suppose that’s what this contemplation really is: the realization that merit is great but that it alone does not a refuge make.

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